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Gene Haas Foundation Announces Grants and Scholarships to Young Manufacturers Academies



In association with the Arkansas Economic Development Commission and Arkansas Community Colleges, the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and the Associated Industries of Arkansas (ASCC/AIA) recently launched its 2016 Young Manufacturers Academies, taking place on nine two-year college campuses across Arkansas. The Academies have, since 2014, been presented in partnership with the Gene Haas Foundation. This year's hosting schools have been awarded with a total of $105,000 to both host the Academies and offer scholarship funds to prospective college students. The Be Pro Be Proud Workshop is making stops at many of these Academies as it travels across the state during its tour.

"The Young Manufacturers Academies are a valuable and important part of sharing with young people the opportunities that exist and the skill sets needed in today's manufacturing world. We believe in this program and its impact," said Michael Garner, Vice President of Sales for the Haas Factory Outlet. "The Gene Haas Foundation has been one of the industry's strongest advocates and has given in excess of $175,000 to workforce initiatives, including a recent $50,000 grant to support the Be Pro Be Proud initiative earlier this year. We are grateful for the support of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce in this important work."

More than 300 seventh through ninth grade students are participating in the Young Manufacturers Academy program, which has a primary goal of growing and developing the manufacturing workforce pipeline in these middle grades. This year's Academy sites include:

  • Arkansas State University, Mountain Home
  • Arkansas State University, Newport
  • Black River Technical College, Pocahontas
  • College Of The Ouachitas, Malvern
  • East Arkansas Community College, Forrest City
  • National Park College, Hot Springs
  • North Arkansas (Northark) College, Harrison
  • Northwest Technical Institute, Springdale
  • South Arkansas (Southark) Community College, El Dorado
  • Southern Arkansas University (SAU) Technical College, Camden.

"If we are to maintain a competitive edge in the global economy, the pipeline of students prepared to enter manufacturing careers must be increased," said Randy Zook, President of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce. "Unfortunately, society continues to shed a negative light on manufacturing. Many people still think of manufacturing jobs as dirty, dangerous assembly lines, requiring low skill and offering poor pay. The reality is that manufacturing today takes place in high-tech facilities and there are many opportunities for young people with the right skills to be innovative, creative and entrepreneurial in a range of high-wage, interesting careers."

Launched by the National Association of Manufacturers and the Manufacturing Institute, the Young Manufacturers Academy program uses innovative approaches to STEM learning through experiences that generate student engagement. "It is the combination of these principles, as well as effective instruction and guidance, that garnered the support of Garner and the Gene Haas Foundation," said a spokesperson.

"Today's manufacturing world requires technology literacy, reasoning and problem-solving proficiencies, and students must recognize the value of academic achievement in STEM and aspire to that achievement as a component of future career success," said Mike Preston, Executive Director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. "To accomplish this, students must have opportunities to participate in hands-on experiences with manufacturing-related activities that are contemporary, driven by the field and STEM-rich."

"Today's technically-professional workforce is aging out and the next generation of new talent is not sufficient to fill the demand. Nationwide, there are an estimated 5.8 million job openings, with approximately 60,000 of these openings in Arkansas," said the spokesperson. "The majority of these are in high skilled technical fields, and this gap in our state's employment can be directly attributed to a lack of knowledge, interest and preparation. The Be Pro Be Proud campaign was launched on March 8, 2016, and is aimed at closing the skills gap and providing students and their influencers with the resources and training they need to succeed in a technical profession."

For more information contact:.

Gene Haas Foundation

2800 Sturgis Rd.

Oxnard, CA 93030

805-988-6979

info@ghaasfoundation.org

www.ghaasfoundation.org

Andrew Parker

501-372-2222

www.beprobeproud.org

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